Interviewing patients and the public who have used the internet to express their views about healthcare, or have read other people’s comments

Interviews for project 3 of the INQUIRE study began in September. I’ve been spending lots of time looking online to find people who have blogged, tweeted or commented in other ways, on a variety of online platforms, about their health service experiences. I’ve had a fantastic response so far. The flyer about the interview study has been tweeted far and wide, which has generated a lot of interest in the project.

The interviews that I’ve conducted have all be so interesting, and people have been very generous with their time.

I conducted a particularly thought provoking interview with Wendy Mitchell last week, who tweets @WendyPMitchell and writes a blog whichmeamitoday.wordpress.com about her experiences after having been diagnosed with young onset dementia a few years ago. Wendy starting blogging about her experiences initially as a memory aide, to help her recall things that she’d done and how she was feeling, but she soon discovered that other people were interested in sharing her experiences, and her blog has been read by people all over the world. Posts that she’s written about her experiences of appointments at her local hospital have been read by many people including trust managers and hospital staff, and she has been asked to speak at various events and conferences as a result. Wendy finds that tweeting, and writing a blog help her to feel connected with others’ who are going through similar experiences.

Wendy made a few notes whilst we were talking together, to remind her afterwards about the interview, and, true to form, she blogged about her experience of being interviewed for the INQUIREUK study. You can read her account of it at whichmeamitoday.wordpress.com

I am keen to find more participants to take part in interviews for the study. As well as wanting to interview people who actively post or read others’ blogs or social media comments about their healthcare experiences, I am also looking for people who have used NHS online feedback routes such as NHS Choices, or Friends and Family. I also want to find people who are not active online, and who don’t ever consider looking for others’ feedback or comments about healthcare experiences.

Contact me on susan.kirkpatrick@phc.ox.ac.uk for more information.

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